In Sikkim, many pharmaceutical companies have had to shuted due to corona infections and lockdowns. Most of the factories have stopped making drugs for some time now. If this situation continues, it is feared that there will be a drug crisis in the whole country.
Most of the pharmaceutical companies have set up factories in Sikkim, a small hill state along with other parts of the country including Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, pharmaceutical companies had set up bases in special economic zones in Sikkim to avail various tax benefits. Since then, 80 percent of the country’s total tablets and capsules have been produced in the state. Many well known companies like Mankind Pharma, Sun Pharma, Alembic Pharma, McLeod’s Pharma, Cipla, Torrent Pharma, Lupine etc. produce drugs from one or more units in Sikkim.
In the early days of corona infection in the country, there was no sign of infection in Sikkim for a long time. But later when people returned from other states, the infection started spreading there. Now the infection in Sikkim has taken a terrible shape. There is a complete lockdown going on now. The lockdown will continue till the 3rd in the containment zones. Sources said that if the infection is found in those areas again, it may be extended till August 31.
The infection has spread to employees of pharmaceutical companies. Drug manufacturers said many units had to close due to lack of staff. In order to keep the supply in the market adequate, the quantity of medicines has to be controlled at all times. If not, there is a possibility of drug shortage in the market. But the production of medicines for important diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and sugar is particularly hit as the units are closed. At the same time the production of antibiotics has also come down drastically. Pharmaceutical manufacturers say companies that have units in other states are moving some of their drug production there. However, a separate license has to be taken for this.
Prominent cardiologist Susan Mukherjee said, “I have heard that the production of medicines in Sikkim’s factories has come down a lot.” This can lead to a shortage of medicines for non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and gastritis. There must be some stock in the stores at the moment. However, if the situation in Sikkim is not normal, there will be a shortage of medicines later.
Sajal Gangopadhyay, secretary of the Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association, a top organization of drug dealers, said, “The stock we have will not be a problem for the next two to three months.” The demand for antibiotics is also low at the moment. However, if the supply is tight then there may be problems.
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